Ipha (입하: beginning of summer) was on 6th of May this year which means summer has officially arrived. It is still a bit cooler at night but during the day the heat is already unbearable. It is times like this when you are vulnerable to cold viruses and that is eventually how I suffered almost five days with a strong cold. I was stupid to wear thin layers on the days when it seems like summer but the temperature drops after sunset. On a Wednesday after work, I dragged my sick body to grab me a bowl of samgyetang (삼계탕) – a traditional Korean soul food that is well known for effectively restoring stamina.
Pungjeon Samgyetang in Tanbang-dong, Daejeon is famous for their original and authentic chicken soup. A single serving includes a whole young chicken with congee-like rice porridge on the bottom of the hot stone bowl.
I make samgyetang often at home when I feel like I need to boost my bodily energy. It is so simple to make: just add a whole chicken in a pot of water with bunch of herbal medicine-like goodies including ginseng, dates, garlic, whole black peppers, leek, etc then boil it for hours until you get thick soupy chicken broth.
What I loved about Pungjeon’s chicken bowl is that it includes some nuts and seeds in their rice porridge which gives a nice nutty flavor. They also top the soup with handful of chopped fresh Korean leek and carrots which was a good contrast in texture.
The salt they used seem to be one of those “baked” salt. They say baked salt has decreased saltiness but increased flavor which makes it ideal for cooking.
The side dishes included fresh salad with sweet and sour dressing and pickled cucumbers that I had to ask for seconds.
Samgyetang is a common mombosin (몸보신: pronounced mohm-bo-shin) food. What is 몸보신 food? It refers to food that helps you regain your body strength and recharge your energy. After suffering for days because of a cold, I felt quite better having finished a bowl of boiling samgyetang for lunch. After all, food surely works better for me than prescribed drugs.